Sign: This garden is planted in wildflowers

            I planted a wildflower.
            No, not wild like Star of Bethlehem, brought back from the Crusades to France, Spain, England,  First planted as simple border, it proved itself a creeper, a crawler, a spreader, an interloper, a pest and then a weed, the black sheep of the lily family.
            And no, not wild like clematis, vining everywhere once planted, the tiny profusion of flowers that attract hummingbird and bumblebees turning to tiny seeds that fling themselves everywhere until the neighbor grumbles as she pulls the tendril after tendril from her fence.
            And no, not wild like ditch lilies, steady in adding bulb to bulb, crowding out grass, blooming, then withering, stalks stabbing the air, leaves falling and curling on the ground, matting the earth so the plant can dominate through the next year, and the next.
            And no, not wild like tansy, planted for medicinal purposes but each root spreading so fiercely that digging it out only gives it new plans to sprout from the fragments, no piece too small, no tiny seed too discouraged to germinate no matter the soil—the more disturbed the better—until the only way to tame tansy is to turn loose sheep who will make it disappear until another season pulls it from the earth.
            Yes, I planted a wildflower, one that belonged where it was planted, one that the years had accustomed to sun, wind, rainfall, season.  It was not wild at all.  In fact, it was settled, belonging where it was just as it had for centuries.  And when it bloomed, sprays of flowers waving its arrival, color so intense against the palette of prairie, all the earth seemed content with its common sense, with its indigenuity.

"Sign: This garden is planted in wildflowers" first appeared in Iowa Summer Writing Festival Anthology







Statue standing on head

Star of Bethlehem flower


Daisy flower


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